UPDATED: What the $#@!

30 minutes ago...

I was about 30 seconds away from that sweet oblivion called sleep when a sound tore me from the sheets and sent me throwing boxer shorts and socks in the air like a Mardi Gras festival looking for my flashlight.

What? Where do you keep your flashlight?

The last time a sound knocked me out of bed like this, my next door neighbor's son was in a car accident at the end of the street.

This was nothing like that - no parents running down the street, no large crash of metal. Instead, it sounded an awful like what I imagine a raccoon killing one of my neighbor's cats would sound like.

I jumped up grabbed the flashlight and put on a pair of sweats, some sandals and ran downstairs to the kitchen, shining my light through the window. Except for a steady sheet of rain I couldn't make anything out. The screaming continued. I was able to see that my trash cans, prior victims of raccoon ambushes, had remained untouched. The past summer the neighbor whose backyard ran up against my had said he knew that raccoons lived behind my garage. There's about 12" of space between the fence that divides our yards and the back of my garage, and with the trees that block everything it's almost impossible to reach except by straining and only then you can just get your head back there. The few times I looked back there enormous amounts of feces seemed to bear the raccoon theory out, but since cleaning it our periodically and spraying some Home Depot stuff back there I hadn't had an issue in months.

The screaming continued for another 30 seconds, then stopped. By this time I was properly armed with flashlight, large stick and protective footwear to venture outside. I made a (very) quick survey of the back yard and ran back inside. Nothing.

It was pouting, after all.

Update tomorrow, when I can get out back to see what's behind the garage...

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UPDATE (5/13, 8:00 AM): I checked outside this morning - no carnage, no overturned trash cans. Behind the garage there was a lovely pile of crap but no signs of dismembered cat, raccoon, or anything else that would indicate a battle of epic proportions.